How does a modern energy catastrophe look, and why is no country safe?

Climate Energy

Whatever you want to call it, the energy market news out of the United Kingdom portrays a nightmarish picture of what occurs when an economy that is making the righteous shift to affordable, clean, renewable energy is forced to rely on pricey gas to move forward constantly. As the impacts of the energy shift reverberate throughout society, Britain’s experience serves as a cautionary lesson for the rest of the globe, demonstrating what can—and almost certainly will—go wrong as countries throughout the world struggle to make the transition to green energy.

As energy rates rise in the context of low gas fields ahead of the winter, the consumer effect of the power shortage has already had political repercussions in the EU. China has already warned that rising coal prices will have an impact on fertilizer supply, threatening food security. But it is in the United Kingdom that the agony is most acute.

A cold period set off a chain reaction that led to the United Kingdom’s current woes. The globe began to surface from the COVID-19 epidemic after the frigid winter of 2020-2021 saw the United Kingdom and much of Europe deplete their energy stockpiles. Europe and Asia awoke from their slumber to compete for the restricted gas supplies of the United States, Norway, and Russia, all of whom were replenishing their stockpiles.

Gas prices have increased by 400 percent on the spot market since the beginning of the year, while the electricity costs have increased by 250 percent. As the cost of gasoline began to eat into revenues, businesses that couldn’t afford the increase began to close.

In the fertilizer business, two huge U.K. facilities controlled by CF Industries Holdings have briefly shut down, and Norwegian giant Yara has reduced production at a variety of its European locations. This has resulted in a shortage of carbon dioxide, which is a by-product of fertilizer manufacturing that is utilized to stun livestock before slaughter, as well as a lack of dry ice, which is required to keep foods cool during storage and transportation. As a result, chicken and ham, as well as fizzy beverages and ice cream, are in short supply at UK supermarkets. Due to the dry ice scarcity, online supermarket Ocado Group has halted distributing frozen products to consumers in the United Kingdom.

“We’re on a knife’s edge,” said Richard Griffiths, the British Poultry Council chief executive. Many in the energy sector are eager to predict that the current time of high costs will pass and that everything will return to normal soon. They avoid apocalyptic phrases like “energy catastrophe.” Instead, they argue that the price spikes reflect faults in the market-based energy system in the United Kingdom, which has become highly reliant on the same gas it has been striving to free itself off of.

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